Guide to small business grants, finance and funding for female entrepreneurs

Back Her Business

Following on from the Rose Review, NatWest launched an exciting new programme called Back Her Business. They are supporting a partnership with Outset, to reach out to engage, inspire and support women to consider and start their own business through training, mentoring and collaboration to help them succeed. Together they are providing training, networking events plus coaching and mentoring sessions. 

For those women who want to raise start-up funds through crowdfunding, Natwest have collaborated with Crowdfunder, matching funding up to a maximum of £5,000 each year to successful projects. More info


Astia is a community of experts committed to levelling the investment playing field for women entrepreneurs by providing access to capital and networks for the companies they lead. Powered by a global network of over 5,000 investors, industry experts and serial entrepreneurs it actively identifies women-led ventures that are poised for explosive growth. More info

British Business Bank 

A government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. They offer a range of programmes for start-up and scale-up businesses as well as those looking to simply stay ahead of their competitors. More info

Business Angels Network

As the name suggests, this is a website with a list of networks of angel investors across the UK to look to for assistance with your business. More info

Business Growth Fund 

Although not specifically for female entrepreneurs, this company acts as an investment partner for growing companies across all business sectors, providing funding and expertise. More info

Cartier Women’s Initiative  

Each year, twenty-one grants are made available to women from around the world looking for early-stage funding to assist with growth. The successful applicants can access workshops, networking events, 1:1 coaching and the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship six-day Executive Programme. Grants of up to £80,000 are available. More info

Coast to Capital and The Business Hot House 

The Business Hothouse Programme offers free support and access to grants  between £2,000 to £170,000 to pre-start and established businesses in the Coast-to-Capital area, that covers the districts of West Sussex, East Surrey, Brighton & Hove City Region and the Lewes District. 

Invest4 grant funds are available to both pre-start and to growing established businesses. Grants may be used to support a variety of projects and support up to 40% of eligible costs. The terms vary depending on the size of grant applied for and the background of the applicant. More info

Female Founders Fund

A body of investors looking to take equity stakes in women led start-ups focused on enterprise tech-solutions transforming workplaces, community-driven brands which bring a unique point of view to the consumer market, female healthcare and consumer-first banking platforms. More info

Fredericks Foundation

Fredericks Foundation's mission is to provide access to small business loans to people excluded from mainstream credit in order to create choice not charity, and to give individuals the opportunity to transform their lives, and to build a society based on dignity not on handouts. More info

GetSet for Growth & FinPoint  

A partnership between GetSet for Growth and FinPoint can offer support on financial planning to help businesses navigate their way through the funding channels available. They offer expert knowledge of public and private sector funding, help businesses to become investment ready and assist in discussions with potential investors. More info

Global Fund for Women 

This fund provides cash grants to groups for start-up costs for businesses outside the US led by women. More info

Government Funding

The UK Government has a range of funding support for a variety of business sectors – see the full range here You can also find useful information on investment schemes in the UK here


A registered charity which describes itself as an innovation foundation based in the UK working with international partners, supported by a financial endowment. More info

Outset Finance 

As a national delivery partner of the Government’s Start-Up Loan service, Outset Finance has secured over £20m of finance for clients in the past six years. Offering holistic support to those looking to access finance, they can help those that might struggle to get a loan from mainstream lenders or have been rejected by a bank. They help each client to write their business plan and financial forecast as well as offering a business mentor to support them on their business journey. More info

UK Business Angels Association

The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the national trade association for angel and early-stage investment, representing over 160 member organisations and around 18,000 investors. Business angels in the UK collectively invest an estimated £1.5 billion per annum and are therefore the UK’s largest source of investment for start-ups and early-stage businesses seeking to grow.

Women in Innovation Awards 

Innovate UK recently announced a new wave of these awards to find and support the UK’s most promising female innovators to develop their ideas and scale-up their businesses. Up to ten women will secure £50,000 each as well as a bespoke programme of coaching, mentoring and innovation growth support. More info


YTKO works closely with business angels, seed funds in industry and universities, research councils and with venture capitalists looking for good, early stage deals from innovative, high growth companies. They run an angel investor network in the East of England and can provide businesses with access to investors and other support services to become investment ready. More info


Enterprising Women
Upper Office
Hems Mews
86 Longbrook Street
Exeter EX4 6AP


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